My dog squirms like crazy when I try to groom it. What can I do to calm my pet down so it will look forward to such necessary grooming and cleaning times?
From the Editors of The Dog Daily
When most kids have their first haircut, they are terrified. Think of it from their perspective: A stranger is coming at them with scissors while they are being restrained. Your dog probably feels some of that same fear when you try to groom it. Even though the dog knows you, you are restraining it and doing unfamiliar things that it perceives as threats.
Sandy Blackburn’s The Everything Dog Grooming Book has some helpful tips on how to make grooming far less stressful for your dog. She first says that it’s important for you to not show frustration and fear, even if your dog does. Stay calm, upbeat and in charge, since your dog is attuned to your feelings.
Blackburn advises that you can desensitize your dog to some grooming phobias. Many dogs, for example, run like crazy when they hear a hair- or fur-dryer. She suggests touching your dog with the dryer while it is not running, just so your pet can get accustomed to its presence, look and smell. Then, turn the dryer on low, but don’t let the air touch your dog. Again, the idea is to just teach your dog that this is a safe gadget. When you do progress to actually drying your dog’s fur, be sure to do it slowly while massaging its fur.
This slow and comforting approach can apply to introducing new hair combs, brushes and other grooming tools. Sweet talk and treat bribery may help too. Dogs and cats seem to have incredible memories when it comes to bad grooming experiences, but if you make the work pleasant, your dog should look forward to the necessary tasks in future.